Monday, July 01, 2013

Only The Music Lives On

Just a few weeks ago Ray Manzarek became the second member of The Doors to pass away. Sadly, many other groups of the 60s and 70s have also lost two or more members. Those missing roll call include four of the original five Temptations as well as three of The Four Tops. It's the same for The Mamas & The Papas, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Dave Clark Five, The Bee Gees, Atlanta Rhythm Section, The Band, The Byrds, The Ramones, Booker T. & the MGs, Traffic, Iron Butterfly, and The E Street Band. Unfortunately, the long list, including both famous names and some lesser lights, doesn't end there.

Solo artists who have gone to the great beyond in recent years include Donna Summer, Gerry Rafferty, Bob Welch, Johnny Cash, and Warren Zevon.

Among the living Glen Campbell is currently fighting a losing battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

I've always believed that pop music occupied a bigger place in the hearts and daily lives of the generation that grew up with the war in Viet Nam than it has for any other era. Many of us were so smitten with the bands we loved that, for better or worse, we often allowed the superstars of the day to influence our culture in ways that didn't involve music.

The more famous ones frequently became bigger names than the star athletes and film actors of the day and a few of them made headlines daily. Generally that was not a good thing because the news was mostly about drug busts and other typical rock 'n roll debauchery. (At least there wasn't much of the never ending, rampant violence that seems to plague the rappers and their generation).

Many of the baby boomers succumbed to Peter Pan syndrome. They never grew up and didn't want to. Roger Daltry famously sang, "Hope I die before I get old" and Mick Jagger said a long time ago, "I can't see myself doing all this when I'm thirty." Obviously, they believed that rock was a young man's game. Despite those two statements, many of the classic rockers, including Jagger's currently touring Rolling Stones, are still working even while growing old, gray, and sick. Eventually they'll all be auditioning for the large and ever growing rock band in the sky.

While listening to "Pleasant Valley Sunday" on Sirius XM's 60s on 6 oldies station over the weekend it struck me that I was not really listening to the excellent Monkees' song. Instead, I was thinking about how sad it is that Davy Jones is gone. That's not the way it's supposed to be.

Rock 'n roll may never die but the old guard who made it such a big part of our lives are rapidly losing theirs.

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